Free Reading A Race for Madmen: The History of the Tour de France Author Chris Sidwells – Vansonphu.com

A Race for Madmen: The History of the Tour de France A great insight, even for non cyclistsSidwells captures the thrills and challenges of the race in terrific detail, highlighting some of the characters and dramatic incidents that have made the Tour such a spectacle.While it will be a goldmine of facts for cycling fans, even those who have never ridden a bike in their lives will be caught up in the tension as legendary riders risk their lives to beat their rivals by the slimmest margins. A Race For Madmen as a history of the Tour de France suffers badly from inconvenient timing It s release date was 2010, two years before the bomb dropped on Lance Armstrong It also suffers from a brutal naivete that, in all honesty, was probably a self preservation technique considering litigation happy Lance Armstrong and his oh so willing lawyers that are no doubt taking him to the cleaners as we speak A further epilogue that covers events from 2010 to today might help make the book slig A Race For Madmen as a history of the Tour de France suffers badly from inconvenient timing It s release date was 2010, two years before the bomb dropped on Lance Armstrong It also suffers from a brutal naivete that, in all honesty, was probably a self preservation technique considering litigation happy Lance Armstrong and his oh so willing lawyers that are no doubt taking him to the cleaners as we speak A further epilogue that covers events from 2010 to today might help make the book slightlyrelevant, but not much.The Lance Armstrong revelations those of his teammates and other parties included have demonstrated once again the cognitive dissonance and outright self delusion of the sport of professional and likely elite amateur cycling Drugs are rife in the sport and are not going to be making an exit anytime soon Anyone who thinks the sport of cycling is clean is a wide eyed innocent who is far too easily duped The sport of bodybuilding has a saying to end any argument about drug use in that sport Freaky big sells For a long time it did For cycling enthusiasts, freaky fast sells, and the tour hasn t slowed down, not matter how much the organizers and certain teams maintain that they are clean Even though the author states that he is not na ve about drug use in the book, he demonstrates time and again that his is Most of the evidence can be found in the last couple of chapters, specifically those involving Lance Armstrong There is reference to his having to answer charges of drug use including a reference to David Walsh s book LA Confidential, but it seems that the author didn t take the time or was too afraid to really investigate the evidence that David provides in his book All this does not reflect well on an author that can recount a quote from a cyclist in the 1920s and 30s stating that there is Cocaine for our eyes, chloroform for our gums, pills for strength We run on dynamite and not connect that with the sport to this day of pharmaceutical sophistication page I ve stated in other reviews why I was sure that Lance was a drug user when I first heard of him in the early 2000s and why I didn t really care, so I will let the reader of this review refer back to my many other reviews of books concerning the Tour de France However, what always struck me as very illogical was how everyone skirted around the argument that it was simply statistically unlikely that someone who competes and wins against drug users is not themselves using them, and usingof them or a better combination However, we are talking about sports science which can still maintain that drugs don t provide a large advantage Yeah, sure, then why do so many cyclists take the chance Again the author was likely avoiding a deep discussion or investigation for survival reasons However, that is still a bit surprising considering the unique perspective of the author, the nephew of Tom Simpson, a British rider that died climbing Mont Ventoux in 1967 whose death has been inextricably tied to amphetamine use whether that was a prominent factor or not It is difficult to square the suspension of disbelieve that pervades this book when in page 260 we learn from a former Belgian national cycling champion that EPO can make a racehorse from a donkey and when donkeys start winning, that is wrong This assertion casts much doubt on Lance Armstrong s claim that he still one his seven Tours because everyone was using therefore, it was a level playing field Well, if your drug use iseasily hidden with a suspicion of assistance from eye averting associations and better devised, scheduled and delivered than everyone else s, you could be that donkey, simply a farclever donkey.Before I leave off the topic of drug use in the book and Tour de France cycling in this review There is a telling bit of psychology written in the book if one considers what is now known in the light of Lance Armstrong s confession and comments made about his personality by friends On page 127, the author is describing French cyclist Louison Bobet, but he could easily be talking about Lance Armstrong Like most great champions, Louison was insecure, but it s that insecurity that helps make them what they are They should worry about the rivals, it s their job, it s what gets them up in the morning and sends out training Similar sentiments are repeated throughout the book concerning other cyclists It s almost as if the true impetus is simply beating the other guy There is something about this type of personality in sport and the entitlement both taken and conferred thus that ought to be studied.Stylistically this was not really a scintillating read Although there is nothing truly negative about the writing style, it is a little dry and fact based without a handsome eloquence that can make up for a data intense read I must say that I found an even older book Blazing Saddles by Matt Rendell to be a farinteresting Tour de France history It gives most of the same information as this book in a short chapter form with farskepticism about the cleanness of a sport that has been proven again and again to be dirty Blazing Saddles not preachy, however, it s just a statement of the facts and a willingness to not overlook the brutally strong implications I would recommend that book over this one.The absolute best part of the book, and almost worth reading the whole book for just to get to it was a reference to a brutally satirical Dutch comedy television show s sketch concerning the whereabouts scandal of Michael Rasmussen If I had known about the scandal and then saw the sketch, I would have been in stitches laughing for days Initially founded to demonstrate a new British invention the bicycle and as a venue to show off the French countryside, the Tour de France continues to exhibit the most extraordinary feats of human endurance from its competitors Now cyclist and journalist Chris Sidwells brings the Tour to life by pulling back the curtain on the behind the scenes battles, tactics, and technology that have played such a large role in the race from its inception As an avid cyclist I ve been surprisingly not that interested in the Tour de France The cloud of doping and drugs hangs over the race, and I ve lost the interest I had since the days of Lance Amstrong s remarkable 7 Tour victories What changed this year was the spectacular coverage of this year s Tour This, coupled with a growing interest I have in French and France caused me to pick up this book.Overall A Race for Madmen was a good read covering the history of this extraordinary event The As an avid cyclist I ve been surprisingly not that interested in the Tour de France The cloud of doping and drugs hangs over the race, and I ve lost the interest I had since the days of Lance Amstrong s remarkable 7 Tour victories What changed this year was the spectacular coverage of this year s Tour This, coupled with a growing interest I have in French and France caused me to pick up this book.Overall A Race for Madmen was a good read covering the history of this extraordinary event The book covers its highs literally and figuratively and lows starting in 1903 and concludes with the 2013 so it is not completely up to date.I learned a few interesting things including the purpose of the Yellow Jersey, as well as the Green, Pocca dot, White and White Red ones as well While I grew up following Eddy Merckx I was not as aware of many of the other great cyclists including Bernard Hinault The Badger , Jacques Anquitel and Prudencio Indurain all five time winners This book help with this.While it was a good history, and one written by someone who clearly loves the sport, I was looking forI m not sure what thatis, but perhaps what it is really like to be part of the event as a rider, support team or spectator Perhaps I should just follow the advice of the author Chris Sidwells and go see The Greatest Show on Earth in person Well written account of the history of the Tour de France, very readable with chapters well spaced through the race s history and including some perspective from the author s own interviews with some of the protagonists. An interesting book covering the entire history of the Tour de France from its inception up to 2009.There has been many interesting characters and gripping racing over the years and its an entertaining read throughout.It clearly covers Lance Armstrong s seven wins but publication pre dates his eventual admission of doping after many years of proclaiming his innocence Nonetheless he still comes across as a brash, arrogant and unpleasant man. A brilliant book about the haitory of the tour de France Brilliant anecdotes about the tour and really articulates why people who love the tour, love the tour. A history of the Tour de France This is pretty good, does a good job of placing the legends of cycling like Coppi, Bartoli, Merckx etc in their place I thought it weakened a little on the newer stuff, but it was released a couple of years ago so it obviously missing some perspective on the Lance years, given whats going on now A good intro to the history of the race, and cycling to a certain extent, very few of the greats haven t made the tour their domain some Italians go giro first and las A history of the Tour de France This is pretty good, does a good job of placing the legends of cycling like Coppi, Bartoli, Merckx etc in their place I thought it weakened a little on the newer stuff, but it was released a couple of years ago so it obviously missing some perspective on the Lance years, given whats going on now A good intro to the history of the race, and cycling to a certain extent, very few of the greats haven t made the tour their domain some Italians go giro first and last 7.5 10 If we re going to be killjoys about this book, let s get it over with it s a chronological list of winners, heroes and notable events connected with the frequently insane history of the Tour de France However, even as something as nuts as le Tour needs narration to bring it to life, and Sidwells makes a good job of it.All the usual suspects are here, from Coppi to Armstrong via Anquetil, Merckx, Bobet, Indurian, Hinault and co, and all are given suitable word count against the rolling backdrop If we re going to be killjoys about this book, let s get it over with it s a chronological list of winners, heroes and notable events connected with the frequently insane history of the Tour de France However, even as something as nuts as le Tour needs narration to bring it to life, and Sidwells makes a good job of it.All the usual suspects are here, from Coppi to Armstrong via Anquetil, Merckx, Bobet, Indurian, Hinault and co, and all are given suitable word count against the rolling backdrop of the Tour s evolution from a bunch of wined up agricultural workers charging about the place on bikes made of iron to the doping scandals that very nearly ended the event in the late 90s Indeed, the issue of doping, which has been part of le Tour to a greater or lesser extent since it began is an interesting subplot to all the Col de Tourmalet and Champs Elyse heroics After all, if you re going to demand that people do something which is beyond human endurance for the entertainment of the public, can you blame them for taking drugs to help Also of interest is the effect of conflict upon the race Within six weeks of the 1914 edition, everyone was at war with everyone else, and the Nazi Tours that took place in Vichy France during World War Two are something which le Tour itself would rather forget Not that they were necessarily the bad guys if you have the Gestapo organising your bike race, you re probably going to think twice before claiming to have left your games kit at home.I enjoyed this book Then again, I like cycling and the Tour de France Would you like it as much if you just liked stuff that was of immense sporting and cultural importance You know, I think you would Enjoyed it detail in the early days is great and I like the nostalgia that reading about Indurain and the winners in the 90 s brought back too However, this book has been sitting on my shelf for about a year and a half and in that time all the Lance Armstrong stuff has come and gone I m sure it would be a completely different book now because of that he sits on the fence about whether he thinks LA cheated or not, which was probably about as far as you could go back then The story about Enjoyed it detail in the early days is great and I like the nostalgia that reading about Indurain and the winners in the 90 s brought back too However, this book has been sitting on my shelf for about a year and a half and in that time all the Lance Armstrong stuff has come and gone I m sure it would be a completely different book now because of that he sits on the fence about whether he thinks LA cheated or not, which was probably about as far as you could go back then The story about Tom Simpson was a highlight of this hadn t known the full details until this


About the Author: Chris Sidwells

Is a well known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the A Race for Madmen: The History of the Tour de France book, this is one of the most wanted Chris Sidwells author readers around the world.


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